Recycla was flipping through a magazine when she came across an article about pleather vs. leather shoes and which kind is more eco friendly. Since Recycla is something of a shoe hound and she is always on the lookout for more cute footwear, she perked up when she saw the article.
Recycla has reached the point in her life where she knows what she’s looking for in clothes and usually where she can find them. When she does find a style that works for her, she usually buys it in multiples. (Hello perfect chinos, I’m looking at you — in black, navy, khaki, gray, and more.)
The other day Enviro Girl was talking to another mom at their sons’ basketball game. This mom has 3 little kids and hasn’t invested a lot of time in updating her wardrobe. “When I shop, I always end up getting stuff for them. It’s just so overwhelming even getting started on shopping for myself. I know my closet is hopelessly outdated. I don’t even know where to start.” That’s the gist of what she said, anyway. Enviro Girl saw her opening.
The cost of school supplies like pencils and notebooks can run up to $100 if you have a few kids heading back to school this fall. Tack on book fees, activity fees, gym shoes and lunches and things start to get expensive. According to the National Retail Federation,average person with children in grades K-12 will spend $688.62 on school supplies and related expenses. Enviro Girl has three kids going to school full-time this fall and even with recycling many of last year’s supplies and leftovers she shelled out $150 on school supplies. But she won’t spend $606 getting her sons back in the classroom and here’s why: Continue reading
Contrary to popular belief, most tree huggers have an inner diva and embrace it. They don’t want to wear baggy sweaters woven out of hemp and long gypsy skirts. They appreciate that in order to be taken seriously (and their message is a serious one), they can’t look like they a) tumbled straight out of bed b) tumbled straight out of a Grateful Dead tour bus or c) tumbled straight out of Haight-Ashbury, circa 1968. Continue reading
It’s time to switch out the winter coats for lightweight jackets, snow boots for sandals. If you’re careful about storing your winter gear, you won’t need to replace it quite as soon–and when you do need it next winter, it’ll be ready to wear. Here are some tips: Continue reading
Enviro Girl lives with boys who play on teams–and each team means a new team t-shirt. Over the years, the family has accumulated boxes of shirts–many no longer worn. We’ve also got bushels of old socks (many without their life partner), towels, undies and blue jeans. Instead of filling a landfill with old clothes unfit for the thrift shop, Enviro Girl cuts them into squares and gives them another life as rags. Old socks slit up the side are the perfect size for polishing wood. Old t-shirts work great on windows and glass. Old towels clean up sinks, tubs and toilets beautifully. And even old tighty-whitey Fruit of the Looms work great for swiping away motor oil or wiping on shoe polish (and then into the trash)! These days the only time Enviro Girl uses paper towels is to absorb bacon grease when making Sunday morning brunch.
The cleaning industry has pushed consumers into using disposable cloths and towels–it’s a huge money-maker for them, but it’s also a huge burden on our planet. The production, packaging and final toss into a county landfill take human “convenience” to a perfectly loathsome level of wasteful and toxic behavior. Rags are free, reusable after washing and most fabric fibers decompose over time when you finally do retire them to your compost pile or the local landfill. Reincarnating old clothes as rags is a step closer to Enlightenment–and a step away from further global devastation.
Love your planet–reuse your old clothes when tackling cleaning chores. Put that “Lakeville Youth Soccer” t-shirt back in the game–it’s got several seasons left in it playing a new position!
The Green Queen hates to throw anything away. She’s always thinking, “how can I reuse, recycle or repurpose this?” And even when it comes to a worn out swimsuit or two, she doesn’t want to throw them in the trash.
As happens this time every year, Recycla and her family are starting to get holiday party invitations in the mail. At this point, her family has one afternoon open house, one evening neighborhood party, a New Year’s Day open house, one holiday concert, and the potential for one or two more events. (These are all family-centric events; the invitations that are not usually get declined. After all, a big part of the holidays is being with one’s loved ones.)
Attending holiday parties means that everyone in Recycla’s house needs appropriate outfits to wear. While this could be an expensive undertaking, it doesn’t have to be.
As you are preparing for the start of the new school year, the chances are that you have old stuff that you need to deal with, including old crayons and outgrown sneakers. The Eco Women are here to help! Even if you don’t have school-age children, you might find a few useful tips here too.
If your jeans are too tattered to pass along to someone else, consider using them for crafting projects (just Google “blue jean crafts”) or see this great blog post. If the jeans are beyond the help of even a good craft project, you can recycle them. Some Whole Foods stores collect jeans and you can also check Earth 911 to discover the options near you.
And what about all those old t-shirts? The Eco Women like using them for cleaning rags. They’re also great as packing material if you need to store or shop something fragile. Or tear them into strips and use them as garden ties for tomatoes, roses, and more.
You probably have plenty of old sneakers cluttering your hall closet. Can they be washed and passed on to someone else? If not, see if a local shoe store collects old sneakers to be recycled. If there is no local option, there is always the Nike Reuse-A-Shoe Program, which takes old shoes and recycles them into new things, including new apparel or part of an athletic surface, such as a track or playground.
For some reason, Recycla’s daughters have several backpacks, even though the girls reuse their school backpacks from year to year. If you have extra backpacks that aren’t getting used, consider donating them to a local school, where they can be given to a student who can’t afford to buy a backpack. You might also check with local non-profits, such as homeless shelters and other places that provide a safe haven from an unsafe domestic environments. Plenty of folks (including adults) need a good bag for holding their possessions.
If you have old composition notebooks that still have some paper in them, use the paper for notes and lists around the house. Old crayons can easily be recycled. Old pencil boxes have plenty of new uses, including as traveling art kits for kids and mini sewing kits.
The important thing to remember as you deal with old stuff is that there’s a chance it can be re-purposed in a creative way or passed along to someone who can use it. Barring that, there could be a way to recycle those items and keep them out of landfills. Do your best to keep stuff out of the trash.